Nope, it really doesn't. There is an easier way.
And who knows, like me, you may have been using it for some of your projects, like brick stitch earrings, without even knowing it.
I guess it's just a really small strip of peyote stitch, but turned on it's side. Rather than describe it - how about I just show you?
But before that - why is this way easier? If you've ever tried to manipulate and hold a tiny strip of size 11 delica beads to do ladder stitch - you'll know why right away.
Pick up 3 beads and put your needle back through the first bead (the opposite direction you went the first time). Note that I also add a stop bead first to keep things in place.
I am using size 10 delicas. The project that I am making is a brick stitch heart charm. You can find the pattern and instructions - less this information on the easier way to start, at the link.
Pull the beads into a mini triangle with two beads stacked on the one stitched through.
Pick up another bead and stitch through the last bead you added. It is the last one on the row with two beads.
Pull that tight and make sure the beads line up. Pick up one more bead and go through the bead underneath.
By the way, that three/two bead stack is exactly how I start my brick stitch earrings! I just go through the two beads to add a hanging loop and then weave back through to continue brick stitch. More details on another day...
You are going to continue until you have enough rows and columns to use as the base of your project.
For the heart charm, that means I need one row with three beads and the second row with four beads.
This is perfect, except that my thread is coming out of the wrong bead. It's coming out of the row with three beads and to continue my brick stitch, I'd like it to be coming out of the bead above it.
The next step is to reposition my thread by doing a little creative maneuvering through the beads.
This is easy so long as you don't jump across any beads and leave a thread trail. Also, go slow and try to avoid sewing through (splitting) the thread inside the beads. It makes it much harder to undo a stitch if you do.
I go up the bead on the side, and the one above it to the left. For purposes of less photos, I make it seem like I do this in one stitch, but I usually do it in two steps to make sure I can avoid stitching through the thread.
Now I go down the bead on the right, back into the center bead on the bottom row.
And one more turn and my thread will be where I want it. I go up the bead on the right and the bead on the row above it.
Ta-da! My thread is positioned for the next brick stitch and my fingers are so happy because it is sooooo much easier to hold a 2 bead start than a single fiddly row of ladder stitch. And now I can start the brick stitch rows.
Then a miracle occurs and it looks like this! I really love the red color (DB-723)! Note the link is to size 11 red delicas, and I'm using a size 10 which is a little easier to photograph and a good size for bracelet centers.
One other really important tip!
When you start the brick stitch and are doing the beads that stack above where the tail thread is, don't pull too tight! It's easy to pull the tail thread through to your new stitch and then the beads won't lay correctly. A tight stop bead will prevent this. Also, you can give a little tug on the tail thread to make sure it hasn't been pulled through.
I've started making some special versions of the heart charms - slightly larger to accommodate more pattern options. The one below on the left is for one of my baseball friends from UCSB in the team colors. The others are some special orders that are just waiting for Chinese knotting cord to be added to make the bracelet part.
In case you missed it, here's the link to how I added the connector beads to add the cord.
I hope this helped you as much as it helped me. I'm finishing my Valentine's presents today, but I expect I may make a few more hearts in the coming weeks. I've found this pattern is good learning tool for learning about colors, connections, problem solving, etc. I'll share a few more tips and tricks I've learned in future posts.
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